On this week’s episode, Bauer Xcel’s Director of content and audience development Ian Betteridge talks about drawing together the separate roles of editorial and data-driven audience development, how commercial needs drive content strategy and how he brings together the print and digital teams to make the many brands he oversees a success. He also tells the story behind ‘Betteridge’s Law’.

In the news round-up, Peter and Esther talk about their highlights of the Digital News Report, why Quartz is partnering with Facebook Watch and a dismal set of newspaper ABCs. Peter gets excited about independent magazine publishing.

We’re reading:

In our own words: Esther Kezia Thorpe

I have to confess to not really knowing what on earth Bauer Xcel was before meeting up with Ian, hence why it was one of my first questions. Its website makes vague claims about the millions of people it reaches without really explaining how it differs from the Bauer we all know.

It transpires that it is the global arm of the business which looks after all the digital brands, as well as the digital side of the print brands. Ian is their Director of content and audience development, which means he has quite a task overseeing brands as varied as Heat, Grazia and Empire, as well as their radio sites and audio apps.

Having a separate digital side of a media business feels like a bit of an ‘old school’ decision; almost a church and state separation. But what is interesting is the changes Ian has seen during his 9 or so months at Bauer. The separation a few years ago has allowed the digital side to figure out what works universally and experiment quickly across the brands most suited, whilst also supporting smaller teams and those that don’t have the time to focus properly on a digital strategy of their own. Bauer’s committment to upskilling teams is admirable too, and a good way of ensuring that talent stays with the company.

Ian’s experience in media trends, content strategy and audience development has rightly made him a well-known figure in UK publishing. Stay tuned until the end to find out all about ‘Betteridge’s Law’ and how all that came about!

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